Bishop to pay over $250,000

Tuesday November 21, 2017 Written by Published in Local

Former MP and One Cook Islands Party leader Teina Bishop, convicted of corruption in July 2016, has settled out of court, agreeing to pay the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development a total of $254,000.

 

This follows an application made earlier this year to the Civil Division of the High Court to seize the assets of Aitutaki Village Ltd, a company owned by Bishop.

The application was made by Solicitor General David James under the seldom-used Proceeds of Crime Act 2003.

James also oversaw the entire proceedings of the newly-agreed settlement, approved by him on October 26, and also signed by Bishop’s lawyer, Brian Mason.

The settlement terms mean Bishop will have to pay $5,000 a month, starting on December 1.

James told CINews he was unable to provide specific details on the steps of the settlement negotiation process.

Bishop was jailed in December 2016 on a charge of corruption as a Minister of the Crown. His sentencing by the Court of Appeal followed a two-year investigation into his dealings with Chinese fishing company Leun Thai when he was Ministry of Marine Resources minister.

Bishop and business partner Thomas Koteka received a loan from Leun Thai subsidiary Century Finance. Of this, $250,000 was invested by Koteka so he and Bishop could buy Samade Resort in Aitutaki for $1 million. Much of the evidence centred around the circumstances of the loan.

Bishop’s trial took almost three weeks, and the jury took more than four hours to reach a verdict.

Bishop returned home to Aitutaki in June of this year to a huge welcome from local residents.

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